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Tyler Arboretum update, Media, PA


Just a little house-cleaning up date here...

I've reviewed some records on Tyler Arboretum, data collected by Scott Wade, et. al., and have the current RI listed at 125.08:

Species CBH Height Comments
tuliptree 13.4 141.5
black oak 9.9 129.5
bitternut hickory 8.2 126.8
shagbark hickory 6.5 126.1 tallest known NE
shellbark hickory 5.5 126.1 tallest known NE
white ash 7.5 125.3
mockernut hickory 7.2 124.3 tallest known NE
N. red oak 14.6 118.8
Am. beech 11.2 116.9

That puts in 11th out of 66 surveyed sites for PA.

by djluthringer
Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:16 pm
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Jacobsburg State Park. PA

Way to go, George!

I only had time to measure a few trees there back in 2005. Super job, and plenty of trees for a Rucker Index too. I just visited there on 3/31/10 and have a couple more trees to add to your list. These weren't in the old growth area, but still in the vacinity of Bushkill Creek:

Species CBH Height Comments

E. hophornbeam 4.8 51.5 Bushkill Creek

bitternut hickory 6.8 120.5 2ndary old growth near new woodcock habitat area
chestnut oak 8.8 114.1+ " "

Updated RI for Jacobsburg State Park = 115.48

Species CBH Height

tuliptree 10.8 139.5
bitternut hickory 6.8 120.5
shagbark hickory 5.3 118.5
E. white pine 7.7(2x) 115
E. hemlock 8.9 114.7
chestnut oak 8.8 114.1+
N. red oak 10 111.6
white oak 7.2 109.2
pignut hickory 5.3 108.7
white ash 7.8 103

I was pleasantly surprised to see you found tulips there almost in into the 140ft class. Nice find on the 12x100 tulip. I didn't think that site was going to have any that reached the 12x130 threshold.



On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 11:24 PM, George Fieo <> wrote:


On 11/11/09 I visited Henry’s Woods, a 40-50 acre stand of old growth hemlock and oaks within Jacobsburg State Park located in Northampton Co., Pa. It’s also the site where the famous Henry Rifle was manufactured and was set aside as a natural preserve by the Henry family. Bushkill Creek flows through the old growth, meandering past flats and steep slopes with slate outcroppings. (continued)
by djluthringer
Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:26 pm
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Highland Drive Old Growth-Clarion River


On 11/5/09 I took the opportunity to investigate a small patch of old growth I observed about a year ago on a hike along the Clarion River in the vicinity of Highland Drive and Maxwell Run. The site is on the north side of the river, Clarion County, Farmington Township. Software estimates the size at roughly 7 acres.

I was able to core only two hemlock before the bore plugged about half full from a punky hemlock. Here’s what I got from two different hemlocks:

E. hemlock 6.9ft CBH x 83.9ft high
~263+ rings in 0.5ft core to punky center, taken 4.5ft up from base
tac # 869 41 18.021N x 79 16.220W

E. hemlock 8.6ft CBH x 112.6ft high
~217+ rings with about 5inches of core unreadable due to punk center, taken 3.9ft up from base
tac # 870 41 18.026N x 79 16.226W

If we had the full cores to both of these hemlocks, both should breach 300 years. There are scattered black birch and chestnut oak in this site that should easily make the 200 year age class as well. The site is very steep, rocky with bowling ball size boulders, very shallow soil. Trees are fairly small stature on the steep slopes, but no real “dwarf” size trees. The bottom section of the site nearest the river is the best example, dominated by ancient twisted hemlocks and thick rhododendron understory.

The ancient hemlocks are not extensive, maybe 13 hemlocks should make at least the 150 year age class. The old growth section goes from the river all the way up the steep slope to the top of the hill. The site resembles two attached parallelograms. It is peculiar because there is a logging road that comes in from the north and ends abruptly at the old growth site. The only reason why I can think they stopped is because of a possible old property boundary. It would be interesting to see old landowner maps and see if this correlation holds true.

The best way to get to the site is to park at the very end of Highland Drive. Walk the North Country Trail (NCT) north to the un-named stream that drains into the Clarion River on the opposite side of the river from Maxwell Well. (I’m calling the terminus of this stream “Highland Island” until the true historical name is discovered. There is ample evidence of old logging activity, possibly old mill site here and foundations.) Cross the un-named stream, but do not follow the NCT up the finger to the top of the hill. Walk parallel up the river staying about 20ft up the bank. You will find an old logging road of sorts that takes you straight into the old hemlock stand in about a ½ mile. It’s rough in spots, but you’ll be able to see it well enough. You’ll know you’ve reached the stand when the road peters out and you hit a wall of rhodos with some ancient hemlock in it. The old section continues mostly straight up hill from here to the ridge top and extends back in a southern direction back towards the un-named stream.

by djluthringer
Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:06 pm
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Elk Creek Gorge, Erie County, PA


On 11/10-11/09 I had an opportunity to explore a couple of sections of the Elk Creek Gorge. Elk Creek is one of the Lake Erie drainage systems in Erie County, PA. I searched two sections of stream, one I’ll call RT98 Upstream (RT98U), at ~23 acres, and the other Gudgeon Upstream (GU), at ~103acres. RT98U is 2.3miles upstream from GU. Little Elk Creek, a nearby drainage I’ve reported on earlier, drains into Elk Creek 0.8miles downstream from RT98U.



Both streams approach 200ft of relief from streambed to the tops of the ravine. This is a very steep ravine valley system similar to the Zoar Valley ravine complex, only smaller in scale. I hadn’t walked either of these sections before, so it was more of a scouting mission than anything else. Access is very limited due to the terrain and most of it is private property.

There are many side drainages that I was not able to explore due to time and lack of equipment. You have to frequently wade the stream to switch sides to proceed up the valley system due to the extremely steep terrain. Since I did not bring waders, I was limited to finding crossings at shin to ankle deep at best. The water is not too warm in November… Regardless, there were still some nice finds on this preliminary trip. CBH is not listed for many trees due to shots taken across the ravine, or of small trees on steep ravine fingers leading into the gorge. Here’s the two-day stat roll:

Species CBH Height Comments (pi=poison ivy)

Am. Basswood ~6(pi) 75.1+
Am. Basswood 5.1 93.1+

A. beech N/A 86.4

Big tooth aspen 7.5 106.4

Bitternut hickory 2.8 69.1+
Bitternut hickory N/A 81.3
Bitternut hickory ~3.5(pi) 102.1+
Bitternut hickory ~6(pi) 111.5

Black birch ~7(pi) 102.1+

Black cherry 6.2 91.9

Black locust N/A 85.1
Black locust N/A 93.4
Black locust 5.6 107.7

Black walnut N/A 83.6
Black walnut N/A 92.9+

Black willow 6.4 93.1+
Black willow 6.3 102.1+ way 876, 41 58.811N x 80 15.765W
Black willow 6.6 102.1+ way 875, 41 58.814N x 80 15.779W, tallest known PA/NE

Butternut N/A 47.8

E. Cottonwood 9.4 130.9 way 874, 41 58.812N x 80 15.779W, tallest known PA

E. hemlock N/A 71.6
E. hemlock N/A 85.2
E. hemlock 5.9 90.6

E. white pine N/A 64.2

N. red oak N/A 56.3
N. red oak 4.5 84.1+

Sugar maple 4 81.1+
Sugar maple ~5(pi) 96.1+
Sugar maple ~10(pi) 99.1+ Baby Elephant Tree (low hanging “trunk” branch)

Sycamore 15.4 97.2 hollow chimney, can walk right into this tree
Sycamore 14.6 100.2 way 871, 41 59.208N x 80 13.919W
Sycamore N/A 112.4
Sycamore N/A 113
Sycamore N/A 116.2
Sycamore N/A 117.6
Sycamore (3x) 120.2
Sycamore ~11.8(pi) 127.4
Sycamore ~7(pi) 129.1+
Sycamore ~6(pi) 131.6
Sycamore ~6(pi) 136 way 873, 41 58.717N x 80 15.761W

Tuliptree 4.8 93.1+
Tuliptree ~5(pi) 111.1+
Tuliptree ~5(pi) 111.5

Vitus sp. 2.5 N/A way 872, 41 58.826N x 80 15.743W

White ash 4.7 87.1+
White ash N/A 108.7

White oak N/A 61.6

Yellow birch 3.6 75.1+

There were some select old relict trees along the base of the drainage. With more exploration, I could probably justify dwarf old growth/primary forests along sections of the extremely steep ravine walls, edges, and fingers. This is where the majority of old white pine, white and N. red oak were located. The following preliminary list shows old growth species with rough visual age estimates on the low end:

Species Age

Sycamore 200
E. white pine 150
White oak 150
N. red oak 150

We were able to document two black willows growing very close together that are currently the tallest documented in PA, most likely the Northeast as well. The best find of the day was the 130ft class cottonwood. This is the first 130ft class cottonwood we’ve been able to document so far in PA, and currently the tallest known for the state.

I have documented other sites along Elk Creek, but this is the first time I gathered enough species between combined sites for a Rucker Index. It currently stands at 117.13, but I think with more searching we should easily get into the 120’s. The Elk Creek Gorge Rucker Index follows:

Species CBH Height Comments

Sycamore N/A(pi) 136
Tuliptree N/A(pi) 132.2
E. cottonwood 9.4 130.9 tallest known PA
N. red oak 8 120.5
Bitternut hickory N/A(pi) 111.5
E. hemlock 5.6 109
White ash N/A 108.7
Black locust 5.6 107.7
Black walnut 6.7 107.6
Cucumbertree 9.5 107.2

This is a very picturesque valley system. Loaded with old lumber history and local lore, old bridge abutments long gone, and teaming with trout and salmon at the right times of the year… an absolutely beautiful place.

by djluthringer
Tue May 18, 2010 9:36 pm
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Firth Family Foundation


After the October 2009 ENTS Rendezvous at Cook Forest, I was contacted by a private landowner to tour his timber stand. He sent me a picture of a fat white pine located in a draw in the Firth Family Foundation in Tidioute, PA. After viewing the pic, see attached, I had to see the site. I will leave the actual location of the site confidential out of respect for the landowner.

The first opportunity I had to visit the site came on 11/20/09. It was a very interesting site. They’ve been actively managing timber in the area, but left a small section of one of their drainages relatively untouched. It was within this drainage that the above pine was located. The white pine turned out to be a respectable 11.1ft CBH x 144.6ft high which I promptly dubbed ‘Guy’s Pine’, after Guy Dunkle who gave me permission to enter the stand. Another pine in a small grove further down the drainage registered 10ft CBH x 143.5ft high. At the bottom of the ravine stood some nice hemlocks as well with the tallest topping out at 7.9ft CBH x 132.4ft high. There were two 140ft class and two 130ft
class pines in the stand. There are few documented sites in PA with pines in the 140ft range,

Cook Forest State Park
Heart's Content Natural Area
Anders Run Natural Area
Delaware Water Gap National Park
Cook Estate
Boston Run Natural Area (Ricketts Glen State Park)
Marilla Resevoir (Bradford)
Firth Family Foundation
Spencer Estate (Curwensville)

and even fewer sites that harbor 130ft class hemlocks:

Cook Forest State Park
Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Area
Ricketts Glen State Park
Hemlocks Natural Area
Greendale Cemetery (Meadville)
Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area
Firth Family Foundation

Recent logging in the area along the edge of the ravine removed some nice hemlock. The largest stump I found yielded ~295 rings! The tallest hemlocks in the ravine were easily in the 225+ age class, with a scattering of smaller diameter hemlocks in the 150-200 year age class higher up the slope in the managed area. Looking at the hemlock’s rings revealed that the stand’s first release was around 1875, which at a minimum would put the pines in this drainage to the 135 year range. But, I think Guy’s Pine, would likely be closer to the 185 year range. At roughly 50 years of age around 1875, it was likely dubbed too small and left to grow.

All trees measured were either in, or in close proximity to this drainage:

Species CBH Height Comments

Am. beech 5.3 105.1+
Am. beech 5.9 108.1+

Black cherry 6.8 114.9

Cucumbertree 5.9 118.4

E. hemlock 7.7 98.3
E. hemlock N/A 113.4
E. hemlock N/A 115.3
E. hemlock N/A 120.7
E. hemlock N/A 125.5
E. hemlock N/A 125.6
E. hemlock 7.9 132.4

E. white pine 9.4 128.1 "treestand pine"
E. white pine 9.3 135.7
E. white pine 10.6 138.5
E. white pine 10 143.5
E. white pine 11.1 144.6 "Guy's Pine

N. red oak 4.5 97.6+
N. red oak 8.3 102.1+

Red maple 6.1 105.4
Red maple N/A 111.1+

Sugar maple N/A 107.6

Tuliptree 6.3 114.1+

White ash 6.4 109.9
White ash 5.5 114.1+

Yellow birch 5.6 81.1+
Yellow birch N/A 88.8

The ravine drainage comes up with a Rucker Index of 116.74.

Species CBH Height
E. white pine 11.1 144.6
E. hemlock 7.9 132.4
Cucumbertree 5.9 118.4
Black cherry 6.8 114.9
Tuliptree 6.3 114.1+
White ash 5.5 114.1+
Red maple N/A 111.1+
Am. Beech 5.9 108.1+
Sugar maple N/A 107.6+
N. red oak 8.3 102.1+

With all the recent logging in there, I was pleasantly surprised to see it appeared they left a lot of the good stuff. It appears that after my discussion with the landowner of my findings, they would leave the remainder of that small drainage untouched. That total area would be likely no more than 5 acres.

All & all a great day, and a wonderful privilege to be invited to scope out some private land holdings with very respectable trees.

by djluthringer
Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:02 pm
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Forest Cathedral-Back 40


On 12/4/09 I took the opportunity to visit a section of the Forest Cathedral I had never visited before. I thought I’d seen every square inch of the place… but there was an obscure section I had never walked before that was sandwiched between two private properties in the vicinity of Jacks Hollow & Cemetery Roads, which from here on out I’ve dubbed the, ‘Back 40’. I’ve driven past it for years, but never got out from the car to investigate. Needless to say, there were a few respectable trees here.

Hemlocks were the oldest and greatest concentration of trees here, along with some fat Am. Beech. White oak and yellow birch should reach some nice ages here as well. Here’s my visual age estimate on the low end of the tree species in the stand:

Species Visual Age Estimate (on the low end)

E. hemlock 300
White oak 200
Am. Beech 200
Yellow birch 200
Cucumbertree 150
Black cherry 150
N. red oak 150
Red maple 150

The yellow birch noted below is the second largest documented in the park. The fat Am. Beech is now the largest known in the park. I never thought I’d find a living beech in Cook Forest greater than 12ft CBH. This one is a dandy with rot through the center. Sadly, it has beech bark disease and may not be standing for much longer. Here’s the day’s tally:

Species CBH Height Comments

Am. Beech 12.2 110.9 largest in park, tac 883, 41 20.696N x 79 12.009W
Am. Beech 7.9 113.6

Am. Chestnut 9.4 28 snag

Black cherry 9.4 115.1

Cucumbertree 8.3 111.1+

E. hemlock 11.5 103.2
E. hemlock 10.5 108.8
E. hemlock 12.3 111.1+ 12x100
E. hemlock 8.2 113.7
E. hemlock 9.6 117
E. hemlock 9.9 124.2

E. white pine 9.1 128.7 boundary tree ~100 years old

N. red oak 9.8 93.1+
N. red oak 9.3 114.1+
N. red oak 10 120+ tac 885, 41 20.574N x 79 11.884W

Yellow birch 8.4 93.6+ 2nd largest in park, tac 882, 41 20.671N x 79 11.782W

by djluthringer
Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:31 am
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Ander's Run Natural Area and Buckaloons Recreation Area, PA

On 4/13/2011 Carl Harting, Steve Hallow and I met for a measuring trip to Ander's Run Natural Area and Buckaloons Recreation Area in Warren County, PA. It was great to get together with everyone. Even though we couldn't get on the river (the Allegheny is still too high), we got a lot done. Here's the stats for 4/13/11:

Anders Run N.A.

Species CBH Height Comments

E. larch 10.8(2x) 115.2 was 10.8(2x) x 114.8 on 3/5/09, 2nd tallest known in PA

Nordmann fir 7.3 96 was 7.2 x 95.5 on 3/5/09, 194 AF points, cored 117 rings slightly missed center, 3.5ft up fm base

Noway spruce 10.5 137.4 was 10.5 x 135.2 on 10/18/06, cored 141 rings to ctr, 3.3ft up fm base

white pine 7.1 133.8 Twisty Top
white pine 10 151 was 9.8 x 144.9 on 4/16/03, 41 49.460N x 79 16.511W
white pine N/A 160 Burl Queen, was 11.6 x 155.8 on 3/23/04, tac 419, 41 49.484N x 79 16.962W
white pine 11.4 160.2 was 11.3 x 159.6 on 3/23/04 tac 415, 41 49.547N x 79 16.628W

Anders Run now has 2, 160ft class pines, and 7, 150ft class pines. If the old state champ Cornplanter Pine was still alive, that'd make 3 living pines in the 160ft class. Anders is the 3rd best place in the state to see tall pines. 1st Cook Forest, 2nd Hearts Content, 3rd Anders Run.

Dunns Eddy Rd (~half mile down river from Anders Run, Benedict Farm)

shagbark hickory 14 87.5 state champ (likely old limb fuse at CBH) was 13.7 x 83.9 on 10/18/06, 270AF points

Irvine, PA (~half mile north of Buckaloons)

white oak 17.8 87.5 across road from church

Buckaloons Recreation Area

Am. hornbeam 2.7 33

bitternut hickory 5 75.1+
bitternut hickory 12 108 41 50.122N x 79 15.534W

black cherry 9.1(2x) 84.1+

black locust 6.6 85

black walnut 7.6 101.5

black willow 7.8 78.5

dotted hawthorne 1.9 45 tac 915, 41 50.270N x 79 15.366W
tallest known in NE is on site 16 is 3.1 x 45.4

E. hemlock 6.2 96

E. larch 7.4 113.5

green ash 6.2 78.1+

hackberry 4.8 76.5

moss cypress 6 87.7 was 5.9 x 86.4 on 4/2/09, 3rd largest known in state, 166 AF points

N. red oak 7.1 107

shagbark hickory 6.6 89
shagbark hickory 5.6 89.5

silver maple N/A 100

sugar maple 8 84
sugar maple 9.8 84

sycamore 13.7(2x) 118.5
sycamore N/A 123.1
sycamore N/A 129
sycamore N/A 129
sycamore N/A 129.1
sycamore N/A 131.5

tuliptree 10.2(2x) 98

white ash 12.6 109 41 50.261N x 79 15.375W

white oak 14.4(2x) 88.5
white oak 8.8 102.5

white pine 11 108
white pine 10.8 127
white pine 9.2 135

Buckaloons Rucker Index = 108.8

E. white pine 9.2 135
sycamore N/A 131.5
white ash 12.6 109
tuliptree 9.9 108.5
bitternut hickory 12 108
N. red oak 7.1 107
white oak 8.8 102.5
black walnut 7.6 101.5
silver maple N/A 100
black locust 6.6 85

The 130ft class white pine and sycamore where nice surprises at Buckaloons. I had no initial intention of getting a Rucker Index for the site, but the further we progressed along Irvine Run into the "tallish" sycamore stand along the creek it was apparent we'd have enough data for an RI. Also, I could here Ed in the back of my head giving me a rash if we didn't...

The fat bitternut on Irvine Run was also nice. It was the largest I've personally measured. the tree has been beat up pretty bad over the years, but is still a solid tree. Definitely has a little age to it. Wouldn't be surprised if it went over 200 years old.


Allegheny River

At the end of the day we went up-river on Hemlock Road towards the Kinzua Dam scanning the islands for tall trees. Steve Halow was able to measure one sycamore across the open water on Wardwell Island (about 3.2miles down river from Kinzua Dam) to 137ft high. There were other sycamore on this island that would also break into the low 130ft class. Ed, looks like we've got a future float from the dam down to the Buckaloons in the works...

by djluthringer
Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:20 pm
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Sheffield Black Cherry


On 1/29/10 I visited Sheffield, PA to measure a trunk portion of a large black cherry that was salvaged from the 1985 derecho that decimated a large section of the Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Area. It is located in the town park on the edge of the ball field adjacent to RT6. The locals had a long open shelter built over it to protect it.

Although the log is very respectable, I don't believe it to be the bottom butt log. I expect it to be part of the upper portion of the trunk. Please note the pic provided by Dr. Susan Stout of the National Forest Service, Northern Research Station out of Irvine, PA (adjacent to the Buckaloons Recreation Area) before the tree came down.

The CBH of this log would easily have been 12ft around, possibly up to 15ft. It was truly a massive tree while standing. In my numerous trips into the Tionesta Research N.A. over the years exploring the old growth, I've yet to see any single stem black cherry that would come close to the girth of this monster.

I've been told by agency personnel that it wasn't far from an access road and on the edge of a gas well clearing. The 1985 derecho that went through the area ripped its top off, but didn't down the tree. Bill Sweeney, fellow old growth sleuth, viewed the tree soon after the storm. He said it was still standing in the tornado swath and viewable a few 100 yards distant from the road. He wasn't willing to risk the hike into the swath to see it up close since the area was near impassible due to the downed trees. Bill couldn't recall the road he saw it from and asked me if I'd ever seen it in my travels. I had never seen the tree, and for good reason, the cherry had been salvaged with part of the massive trunk being set aside for posterity in Sheffield. Sheffield was the last site in Pennsylvania to harvest timber from original old growth forests during the tail end of the timber boom in the 1920's & 30's.

The shelter has a sign erected in front of the log which reads:

"1836 Sheffield 1986
As part of the 1986 Sheffield Sesquicentennial, this 150 year old black cherry log, destroyed in the 1985 tornado, was placed here by the logging industry. It serves as a remembrance of those individuals who contributed to Sheffield's growth through the wise use of this area's natural resources."

A simple ring count of the log yielded 186 rings suggesting the tree easily started growing prior to 1799. Remember, this log is nowhere near the bottom of the trunk. I wouldn't be surprised if this tree went over 250 years old., with 300+ being a possibility.

The log's dimensions are:

circumference at small end = 7.6ft
circumference at large end = 9.2ft
length of log = 60.4ft
cubic volume = 331.8ft3 (devised from two sections of the log using frustums of a cone)
potential marketable timber volume = 3,981.6 board ft

So, if you drive through the small town of Sheffield, PA on RT6, east of Hearts Content, and NW of the Tionesta Scenic Area, don't forget to take a few minutes to view an immortalized remnant of this massive tree.

by djluthringer
Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:05 pm
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new 170ft class pine at Cook Forest


Just re-measured a pine today that was first measured at 9.4ft CBH x 167.9ft high on 7/26/03. Today’s measurement yielded 9.6ft CBH x 170.5ft. I first hit 170.3ft, but since it was so close to the 170ft threshold I decided to find a good mid-slope measurement and utilize a pole for the bottom measurement. So, I settled on 170.5ft. It’s a bear to measure, and located on the steep slope between Seneca & Mohawk Trails. If you know where the Seneca Hemlock is… just go up the trail ~200 yards, then up the hill ~65 yards to the tree (tac 358, 41 19.696N x 79 12.714W).

Also, re-measured the Seneca Hemlock today. I last measured it at 12.1ft CBH x 147.5ft high on 9/21/10. Today, I was only able to squeak it up one tenth of foot to 147.6ft high. It was another bear to measure, had to go wayyy upslope to get the best measurement.

Also, tried to re-measure a fat white pine near the new 170footer that I hadn’t measured since 3/4/03. Back then, I had it to 12.4ft CBH x 159.4ft high. It is now dead, and looks like it’s been so for years.

Also, tried to bump another tall pine into the 160ft class in the vicinity and uphill from the Seneca Hemlock, directly on Mohawk Trail
(tac 346, 41 19.840N x 79 12.650W). On 5/1/03 I had it to 9.9ft CBH x 157.8ft high. It now sits at 9.9ft CBH x 159.5ft high. Believe me, I couldn’t put any more height on this one. This was the worst of them all to measure. Had to go almost to the top of the hill to get the best shot. Wouldn’t have been possible without my pole to help me eyeball the base. GPS had me running around like crazy up & down hill trying to pin-point these trees. Now my legs feel like jelly… Will would’ve run me into the ground today. Damn desk fat…

So, our current white pine tally stands at:

Height Class # trees

180 1
170 3 (remember, the Jani Pine lost the majority of its top and is now ~135ft high)
160 29
150 77
140 146

by djluthringer
Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:42 pm
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Nikon Prostaff 440's for sale

I just found a slew of refurbished Nikon 440’s at Natchez Shooter Supplies in Chattanooga, TN.

by djluthringer
Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:52 pm
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New finds - Cook Forest State Park, PA


On 2/1/12 I decided to re-measure a tall pine beside my house on the Cook Estate. On 5/16/10 it came in at 8.4ft CBH x 153.5ft high. On Wednesday, two growing seasons later, it now stands at 8.6 x 154.7ft high. Not bad for a second growth pine.

After this, I decided to take a short walk back to the park boundary and check out some other second growth pines growing on the slope above the Indian Cabins. I was VERY surprised to find the following white pines:

CBH Height Comments

9 149.5 tac 921, 41 20.069N x 79 12.450W
10.3 152.7 tac 920, 41 20.046N x 79 12.407W
8 160.2 tac 922, 41 20.086N x 79 12.439W

None of these pines I've measured before. I've measured 100's of pines in the park over the last ~10 years, but have yet to seriously get into our second growth pine stands, measuring our higher priority old growth stands first.

This pine is like a spike growing straight up into the air, about 1/2 up the slope of the, ~300 vertical feet up from the valley floor, growing near the bottom of slanting bowl depression on the side of the hill. The other two pines were very close by. All trees are virtually right on top of the Indian Trail. There are a handful of others that'll likely break the 140ft class, and I'm hoping there'll be another sleeper 150 footer or better in there as well.

As I systematically go through the stand, I break the area up into sections so I know where to start up again the next time I'm in. This section is on the uphill side of Indian Trail. I've got a few more trees in this zone to measure, then I'll likely go downhill from the trail working my towards the Indian Cabins. Most Nts who've visited the park over the years during the rendezvous know that's where we house our speakers during the events. Well, just uphill from there is where this last batch of dandies were hiding.

We've now catalogued the following living white pines for Cook Forest:

Height Class # trees
150 78
160 30
170 3
180 1

by djluthringer
Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:08 pm
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Mt. Logan Natural Area, PA


Finally getting back to a little data entry. The following is a brief overview of Mt. Logan Natural Area in Bald Eagle State Forest, Clinton County on 5/25/10. Mt. Logan Natural Area is located on Bald Eagle Mountain along a southerly ridge overlooking Lock Haven.

To date, I've catalogued a minimum of 7 acres of medium to dwarf stature old growth E. hemlock on this site. The oldest core I pulled puts hemlock definitely into the 260 year class, with another that went to ~225 rings. I wouldn't be surprised if hemlock in the 300 year range exist here. I didn't core any chestnut oak, black gum, or black birch, but would expect these species to go over 200 years as well. A fire scar was noted on one old hemlock trunk.

No heights were taken, since I regretably FORGOT the laser in the car (hasn't been the first time I've done this). This is not a site you'll want to do any backtracking to get in to. It took me 45minutes to get from the parking area to the hill top. It's a two mile jaunt in, with a 1,028ft elevation change, see attached map. You first drop down 360ft, then go back up 668ft. It was toward the end of the day anyway, and getting heights would've just slowed me down. I'd estimate most trees here wouldn't go much over 60ft in height. Mt. Logan Natural Area.pdf

I'd suggest a "park & walk" is the best way in. The road gets rough from my suggested parking spot, and only gets worse the further you get in. The map suggests an old jeep road, well, I guess you could call it that.

HWA was present, but noted no canopy die-off then. Since it's been over two years when I was there, the entire site would likely be more heavily affected now.

Here's the core stats:

E. hemlock 8.4ft CBH, ~225 rings at 5.1ft up to solid center, 41 07.668N x 77 21.997W
E. hemlock 5.8ft CBH, ~260 rings at 4ft up at 5.9ft circ, 41 07.683N x 77 21.959W

The rock outcrops here are worth the walk alone. Dwarf stature trees are the norm here. Again, no other cores were pulled, but would expect the majority of trees to go to the ~125 year age class, with select ancient chestnut oak, black gum, and black birch to go much older, pre-dating the logging boom of this area.

by djluthringer
Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:34 am
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Re: How old are these huge Beech trees?


The largest forest grown American beech I've measured is 16ft CBH x 120+ft high in the Walnut Creek Gorge in Erie County, PA. That is way above & beyond what I usually call a large beech at 11ft CBH or greater, of which I've only measured a handful. Your beech is an absolute beauty, I wouldn't be surprised if it easily went over 200 years old, but like Ed says, there really isn't a good way to tell by just looking at them. I've looked at nice beech here at Cook Forest in old growth areas and would've easily said they'd go over 125, but after ring counts we had that particular one go into the 225+ year range, totally blew me away. They're just incredibly difficult to get a good guess on their age because they rarely show it in their bark.

Where did you find this tree?

by djluthringer
Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:15 am
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Re: Ohanapecosh, Mt Rainier NP


Love your pics! Was out west to visit my sister in Seattle a couple of summers ago with our "clan"... 13 family members all went out there together and toured the area. Mt. Rainier was my favorite stop. Since I had never been able to enjoy a trip out west before (all my other times were in planes heading west overseas during the service), I was really glad we were able to spend a day out in the woods. We went to the Grove of the Patriachs as well, but with limited time and the family herd in tow there was no time for measuring. This was my first experience with big trees out west and was totally blown away. The locals thought I was nuts running around the 5-6ft diameter hemlociks, 6-10ft diameter red cedars and 8-10ft diameter Doug' firs. They couldn't help but tell me that this was nothing yet... which ofcourse they were right, but for an easterner used to seeing 3-4ft diameter pine & hemlock and 2ft diameter cedars as big, I was totally blown away. Wanted to measure trees something fierce, and was aching to know just how tall some of those Doug fir really were.

Besides the big trees, the scenery out there was absolutely spectacular. I was having "God moments" at almost every turn, and was having a wonderful time experiencing all this for the first time with my family. It's a good thing I wasn't driving. There was just so much tall Doug fir, red cedar and hemlock everywhere. A few outlier tall Douglas firs ~150 yards off the road in various places just had me itching to get out and explore, but there was no time with the itinerary our family had lined up. Family got a kick out of my multiple "HOLY MOLEY" reactions.

Hoping to get out there again sometime to explore. I'm thinking as long as the Rainier doesn't blow it's top, it'd be a great place to retire.

Here's a few pics.



by djluthringer
Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:51 am
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Re: Tionesta Research Natural Area


Thanks for sharing the video clip. I think that's the first time I ever saw myself on a hike. It certainly is a great way to show the beauty of that old growth stand on East Fork Run.

by djluthringer
Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:29 am
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Re: Zoar in Autumn

Hi, Erik,

Here's the stats I have for the tall tuliptree in Zoar. Bob may have a better height than I. On 6/28/03 I had it to 10.5ft CBH x 154.4ft high. My GPS put it at 42 26.496N x 78 53.279W.

It's been such a long time that I can't exactly remember which "flat" it was on. I could walk to it, but its been so long since I've been in there that I can't remember if we had to cross the creeks in the bottom once or twice to get to it. I want to say it's near/on "Skinny Dip Flats", but not 100% on that. The coordinates ought to get you pretty close though.

by djluthringer
Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:25 am
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Re: Cherry Patch Pond, Lake Placid, NY


I've been to the Lake Placid area several times, but have no tree measurements there. With family in tow, I didn't want to detract from the limited time in the woods to take any serious measurements. Saying that though I have been hiking just east of Lake Placid and come across balsam and black spruce quite regularly, depending on elevation & wetland quality.

To date, the only measurements I have on balsam fir in the Dak's come from Paul Smith's College in the the Elder's Grove. Howard Stoner has documented the tallest balsam fir there to 4ft CBH x 95.6ft high. That's slightly better than anything I've come across in the same general area.

I don't doubt that eventually we'll find a balsam in New York to break 100 feet with more sampling. I've been out of touch with so many on the list for so long that someone like Jess might've found a better one with all his exploits out of Syracuse.

by djluthringer
Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:46 pm
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Advanced Tree Measuring Workshop and AF Cadre Training


The following is the flyer we've put together for the Advanced Tree Measuring Workshop and American Forests National Cadre Apprentice Training to be held at Cook Forest State Park 4/16-17/15. This course has been approved for both SAF and ISA credits.

Cost is free, but registration required. 30 participant limit. To register, please contact Dale Luthringer at (814)744-8475 or e-mail at 2015 ATMW.pdf ATMW agenda.doc

Best Regards,


Dale J. Luthringer
Environmntel Education Specialist
Cook Forest State Park
P.O. Box 120
Cooksburg, PA 16217

Advanced Tree Measuring Workshop and American Forests National Cadre Apprentice Training
April 16-17, 2015

Cook Forest State Park, in conjunction with the Native Tree Society (NTS), American Forests (AF) and Laser Technology, Inc. (LTI), will host a two-day Advanced Tree Measuring Workshop to the public and forest resource professionals focusing on learning the latest and most accurate methods of measuring big, tall, and noteworthy trees of Cook Forest and the Eastern United States.

April 16th will be a general workshop for those wanting to learn how to measure trees using advanced equipment and methods. The workshop will include a morning lecture and afternoon exercises in the field. Members from the Native Tree Society and American Forests will be available to conduct the lecture and field events.

April 17th will be for people who wish to continue and become American Forests National Cadre members. The National Cadre consists of people who have advanced tree-measuring skills. The Coordinator of the American Forests Big Tree Program calls on members to certify nominations to the National Register of Champion Trees, train new Cadre members, settle disputes over competing candidates, develop new measuring methods, and test new equipment.

New Cadre members will begin as apprentices. Most will progress to be fully competent in all aspects of tree measuring. The April 17th program is designed to train apprentices and will be conducted by current National Cadre members.

LOCATION: Cook Forest State Park, Log Cabin Inn Environmental Learning Classroom

REGISTRATION: *Cost is free, but registration required. 30 participant limit. To register, please contact Dale Luthringer at (814)744-8475 or e-mail

ACCREDITATION: Society of American Forests and International Society of Arboriculture credits available.

Agenda for April 16
900-915am ‘Welcome’, by Dale Luthringer, Environmental Educational Specialist,
Cook Forest State Park (EES CFSP)
915-1115am ‘Introduction to Tree Measuring’, by Robert T. Leverett, The Native Tree Society
1115am LUNCH (please pack lunch, light refreshments provided)
100-400pm ‘Field Exercises: Introduce advanced equipment and tree measuring’,
by Robert Leverett, Dale Luthringer, NTS, AF, and LTI members
400-415-pm ‘Summary of lessons learned’ by Robert T. Leverett (NTS) and others
415-430pm ‘Conclusion’ by Dale Luthringer (EES CFSP)

Agenda for April 17

900-910am ‘Welcome’ by Dale Luthringer (EES CFSP)
910-930am ‘Welcome: Explanation of the National Cadre’ by representative of American Forests
930-945am 'Assign existing Cadre trainer to each trainee’
945-1145am ‘Field Exercises: Advanced Measuring Skills & Testing’
by Robert T. Leverett, Dale Luthringer, and NTS members
1145am LUNCH (please pack lunch, light refreshments provided)
115-315pm ‘Field Exercises: Advanced Measuring Skills & Testing (cont.)’
315-415pm ‘Review Exercise Results’ , by each Cadre trainer and trainee
415-430pm ‘Concluding Comments’ , by representative of American Forests and Robert T. Leverett

SKILL SET DEVELOPMENT: methods for measuring tree height and error resolution, proficiency in locating tree top, trunk circumference measurements, methods for measuring crown spread, computing champion tree points, mathematical knowledge & problem solving

Resource professionals have the opportunity to earn credits for the following credentials per day:
Society of American Foresters =5.5 credits

International Society of Arboriculture = BCMA-Mgmt 1.5, BCMA-Science & Practice 2,
Certified Arborist 5.5, Municipal Specialist 5.5, TW Climber Specialist 5.5
by djluthringer
Wed Dec 31, 2014 11:18 am
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Re: Hi

Hey, roomy!

Welcome aboard!!!

by djluthringer
Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:53 pm
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Walnut Creek Beech


In an effort to help train American Forest cadre apprentices, several of us:

Ray Bierbower (cadre apprentice, EES Presque Isle State Park)
Brian Gula (cadre apprentice, EES Presque Isle State Park)
Ed Frank (cadre member, tree raconteur extraordinaire, Ed also brought several of his cousins)

met at the Browns Run section of the Asbury Woods Nature Center in Erie County, PA. Our mission was to review measuring techniques taught at our American Forests National Cadre Apprentice Training held at Cook Forest in April, and apply them to a real world situation in the field, ie: one of the largest beech trees in Pennsylvania.

The tree is actually an American beech and currently listed as the third largest known in Pennsylvania. I argue it's the largest known forest grown American beech in the state, since the others can be argued as multi-stems or are growing out in the open. It is located at the bottom of a steep bank on a flat adjacent to Walnut Creek. The original picture and nomination of the tree can be viewed here:

We spent the day trying to find an accurate height, determining mid-slope, conducted a detailed volume calculation, and crown spread. Every measuring aspect of this tree poses a challenge, so I figured this would be an excellent tree to review a variety of tree measuring methods learned earlier, but maybe not to quite as much detail as we were about to get into.

The height is absolutely miserable to determine. I've been trying to get a good view to the crown and base of this tree since I first measured it over ten years ago. The best repeatable measurement we came up with was from the top of the ridgeline to 119.7ft, recorded by Ray Bierbower. I've got a little higher over the years, but the fine tops of the beech branches are not only intertwined amongst themselves, but you also have crowns of several maples and oaks to contend with.

Midslope... not easy, the tree is growing on a slope, with long rays jutting out from the trunk, and having a slightly irregular root collar on the uphill side. It was a good exercise and recorded a circumference at breast height at 16.8ft. In years past, depending on where I guessed the mid-slope to be I'd get anywhere from 16-16.4ft.

Crown... not so bad to get since there were several of us so we could laser each other as we circled opposite each other around the tree under the dripline using the cosine function to get straight line horizontal distance. The longest spread we could find went to 81.7ft.

Volume calculation... a bear since the base was a tad complicated with "trunk rays", trying to keep all the different numbers and diagram straight, etc. Also, the tree broke into two separate trunks at 42.5ft up from midslope. We used the macroscope 25/45 to get all diameters. We measured the south break to 76.2ft at which point it was 2.54ft across, where it broke into two large branches going off at wild angles. The north break we were able to get to 81.6ft up at which point it was 0.67ft across. Above these two points, the tree broke into a myriad of smaller branches going off into several different directions. So, we didn't attempt to get volume for the remaining ~38ft of branches to the top.

What we did get was the only American beech volume modeled in the state of Pennsylvania, and unless Bob or Will have done one in New England or the Smokies, is likely the only beech modeled to date by NTS in the Eastern U.S. Here's a quick look at some of the lower tree dimensions:

Height circumference diameter
1.7ft 21.7ft 6.91ft
3ft 18.8ft 5.98ft
4.5ft 16.8ft 5.35ft
6.1ft 15.5ft 4.93ft
7.9ft 13.9ft 4.24ft
34ft 10.6ft 3.38ft

We came up with a total volume of 745ft^3, or 8,940 board feet if all of the volume was marketable timber, which it's not. The bottom center of the tree is largely hollow and very punky. It's actually a miracle that the tree is still standing. We also found a conspicuous metal "pin" at the base of the downhill side of the tree. My best guess is that this is a surveyor's "pin" for an old property boundary, which would partially explain why this tree is still standing. The tree is also protected on two sides from heavy prevailing westerly & southern winds due to it being at the base of a steep slope which partially surrounds it.

Overall stat review:

16.8ft CBH x 119.7ft high x 81.7ft crown
342 AF points
745ft^3 volume
8,940 board feet

All in all, an incredible tree, and a great exercise to develop a challenging set of measuring skills.

by djluthringer
Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:04 am
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Erie Big Tree Tour


On Veteran's Day, Erie big tree legend, Ken Fromknecht, took me on a whirl-wind tour of several large N. red oaks in Erie County, PA. The largest of the day we measured to 20.8ft CBH. It is at least the 6th largest documented in PA (as per Scott Wade's-PA's big tree coordinator, PA Forestry Association big tree website). I'd argue the 1st is a double, and the 3rd blew over about 15 years ago:

Here's the day's tally:

Weeping Willow on West Gore Rd, Erie, PA
20.6ft CBH (single!) x 71.7ft high

N. red oak on RT474 Wattsburg, PA
18.6ft CBH

N. red oak on McClelland St., Erie, PA
19.7ft CBH x 100.5ft longest spread x 73.3ft high
335 AF points
4416 McClelland2.JPG
4416 McClelland1.JPG

N. red oak Harborcreek, PA
20.8ft CBH x 136.5ft longest spread x 93.6ft high
377 AF points
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek1.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek2.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek3.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek4.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek5.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek6.JPG
Freeman & Irene Harborcreek7.JPG

This 20.8ft CBH red oak is the largest I've personally measured. What a monster, and in great shape!

Best Regards,

by djluthringer
Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:51 am
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Re: Bear attack! (On my Doug-fir tree?!?!)

Doug' fir... yummmm !
by djluthringer
Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:18 am
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Re: Spackmans Creek Pine, Delaware Water Gap NRA


Way to go Elijah! That's great news!

So glad you were able to find a good view to the top. That tree has been an absolute bear for me to measure/get a good vantage to both the top AND the bottom with one measurer. Were you able to find the "van size" vantage rock I was talking about earlier, or did you find a new window? Even from my "vantage rock" I wasn't sure if I was able to see all the candles, but knew I had a better one than at previous locations.

After checking my records, the last I measured the pine was on 4/1/10 and had 9.7ft CBH x 168.3ft high. If I had the highest candle, which may not be the case, that would suggest a fairly fast growing pine at roughly 0.8ft/year.

Currently, the Delaware Water Gap Pine is tied for the 3rd tallest pine known not only in Pennsylvania, but also the Northeastern U.S. It is likely the full 3rd tallest, since the Feather Duster Pine has been in decline at Cook Forest for several years now, but I haven't been able to take a recent measurement for quite some time.

Were you able to take any pics of the tree? Here's some pics I took back in 2010.

Great job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


DWG Spackman's Creek WP 9.7x174.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creekc.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creeka.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creek tall EH & WP.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creek EH 7.5x145b.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creek bowl.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creekd.JPG

DWG Spackman's Creeke.JPG
by djluthringer
Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:56 am
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Re: Long Point State Park


Great job. Long Point is a really nice site, that I've only lightly sampled. The main grove you were in with the black cherries, then the associated flat near the lake to the east with the fat cottonwoods is where I've spent the bulk of my time. The fat cottonwoods is what drew me back several times. I was first turned on to the whole area by Bruce Kershner and Gerry Horowitz. What a crew we were...

Adding your new finds/re-measures, the Historical Rucker Index for Long Point State Park stands at 121.39:

Species CBH Height Measurer

white ash 4.9 130.8 Dale
black cherry 9.4 130.1 Dale
tuliptree 9.7 126.5 Dale
bitternut hickory 7.3 126.1 Dale
cottonwood 17.9 125.4 Dale
N. red oak 11.6 119 Erik
cucumbertree 7.1 117.5 Erik
sugar maple 8.9 115.5 Erik
red maple 7.2 114 Erik
silver maple 7 109 Erik

And yes, I've yet to see one black oak in the park...

by djluthringer
Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:42 am
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tall black cherry re-measures


Conducted a program last weekend to re-measure two of our tallest black cherries in the park, consequently the two tallest known in the Northeast located in the vicinity of Ridge Trail.

We were joined by a handful of very interested participants, one of which was in the lumber industry. After several chats and stops along the way with the group oogling tallish black cherries BEFORE we got to the good stuff, I finally had to resort to telling them that they'd have to put their blinders on if they wanted to see the really tall ones. I attempted to pass a tallish black cherry on the west side of the trail since we had never documented a cherry on that side in the 130ft class. I had some in the upper 120's years ago, but after being pestered I submitted to taking the time to re-measure it. Actually, I'm glad they pressed me to take the time to do it, since the tree turned out to be a new 130ft class black cherry coming in at 9.1ft CBH x 134.3ft! So, after swallowing a bit of crow, it was time to move on.

Next stop, trying to re-measure the tallest in the park, first measured by Will Blozan on 4/20/02 at 8.1ft CBH x 137ft high. I subsequently re-measured it sometime prior to 2011 at 8.9ft CBH x 140.7ft high. On 12/16/17, we re-measured it to 8.9ft CBH x 143ft high! Which I believe is still the tallest known in the Northeast. Not sure how it currently ranks with recent tall black cherry measures west and south of PA. This tree has always been a bear to measure. Trying to shoot through multiple canopies, interspersed with hemlock, birch & beech makes finding a window to the top difficult. I did have one shot that put the tree at 146.5ft high, which likely would've been a new Eastern U.S. height record, but... I was shooting through light snow, and the Nikon Forestry Pro laser only registered the long shot say 1 time out of 12. Since I couldn't repeat it from a different angle, I elected to stay conservative at the lower measurement. The lower measurement I WAS able to confirm from another location at only 0.2ft difference, so I feel confident the tree is at least 143ft high.

After that, we worked our way south along the contour, paralleling Forest Road until we came to the Pennsylvania state champ black cherry, the Karl Davies Memorial Black Cherry, last measured on 3/3/09 to 11.6ft CBH x 138.7ft high. This was a tree previously taped dropped & climbed by Will Blozan on 4/23/05 to 11.4ft CBH x 137.3ft. Saturday's new measurements on 12/16/17 now put the tree at an incredible 12ft CBH x 139.9ft tall! I confirmed the new height from an alternate location, but try as I may, I just couldn't squeeze in another inch for it to legitimately put it into the 140ft class. We also re-measured the crown with longest spread at 75.6ft giving the tree 303 American Forests big tree points. A picture can be viewed at the following link, although it'll be a little time before the website can be updated:

Here's some pics taken from several years ago:

Davies Memorial Black Cherry-Busch.JPG

Davies Memorial black cherry1.jpg

Davies Memorial black cherry3.jpg

It was a beautiful day to be in the woods at ground zero for tall black cherries in the Northeast.

by djluthringer
Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:29 am
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